We had a couple of hours in the afternoon to spare, and as the weather looked anything other than rain, or rain, we decided the Craigieburn Grasslands was to far from the car if things went, well, you’know, rainy.
What a about the Backpaddock to look for the Scarlet Robins, seemed the go.
Given it was threatening rain, and we weren’t going far, I opted for the short lens as its easier to carry. The 70-200 being off at the repair shop for a new set of tyres and a grease and oil change.
We walked down to the backpaddock gate, half expecting to see that it was ‘closed for park renovations’, again, but no. The Bandicoot Hilton was available for mere mortals and we stepped inside. We’d remarked on the walk down, about how quiet it was not even a Thornbill to break the silence. I took that as a good sign that they had gathered their collective wings together to begin to form a winter flock. So find one, find many.
And. As soon as we had entered the gate at the backpaddock I heard them calling, and looking through the trees there they were. And. Some bright splashes of red, and a few lovely brown bundles as well. The Flame Robins are back. !
At this stage they are just interested in topping up with food, and getting to work out in the paddock where the good hunting spots are, so they are very much on the move. Which makes photography a whole new challenge. FInd a robin, say at about 20 metres, move toward it. It flies 50 metres, total distance camera to bird 65 metres. Move toward bird, it flies 50 metres. Total distance, camera to bird, now 105 metres. It’s why most of my photography is done from a single stationery position. Find birds. Wait for them. Mind if you wait on the wrong side of the flyway, you see nothing anyway. Still we call that experience.
We also came across a new pair of Red-caps. One I think is Julia (she of the vivid red-cap), the other must be her new bloke. (Mr Mighty I think has passed on).
So that fills up the area near the shelter once again.
It began to rain, and after much dodging of showers we decided home was a good place, and set out. Just as we got through the gate, on the opposite side of the road, the cemetery work crews have their gear locked in a 20foot Container. To both our surprises there was a family group of Flame Robins on top. Male, female, and 5 juveniles. They were enjoying the water on the top of the container. The rain must have filled up some of the corrugations on top of the container, and even though it was raining they seemed to enjoy the bath. Best 15 minutes we’d spent all day, as they hopped about, chattered, bathed and queued up for their turns. Nice way to stand about in the rain I think.
So the Flames are on the way back. No big flock yet, but a pretty nice start.